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Interview with Dil Raju
Date: 18 April 2011, Hyderabad
dil raju

Dil Raju has a typical punter mentality as he comes with the background of distribution. He goes against the tide to make contrasting films that are just opposite to the image of the heroes. After doing Brindavanam (family orientation for mass hero NTR) and Gaganam (heroine-less film with Nagarjuna), Dil Raju comes up with a romantic family drama Mr. Perfect with rebel star Prabhas. Here are the excerpts of our exclusive interview with Dil Raju -

Tell us about the result of Gaganam?
We are 100% satisfied with the appreciation Gaganam got. It was a profitable venture for me. However, the profit was 50% of what I had expected.

Tell us about the genisis of Mr. Perfect?
The basic story idea was born out of the discussions I had with Sirivennela during the lyrics discussion for Parugu movie. I opined that Dasarath could do justice to this kind of script and called him. I asked him to work on this story idea. I liked the way Dasarath contributed to the story and wanted to make a film of 7 to 8 crores budget with a small hero. I explained the story idea casually to Prabhas when I met him. He asked me about the director and I told him that it was dasarath. Prabhas was not excited about the director. I asked Prabhas if would like to get a narration. He was in Malaysia to shoot for Billa (it was in the year 2008). I sent Dasarath across. Prabhas got excited about the first half and expressed doubts regarding a few aspects in the second half. We had worked on those aspects. Prabhas had returned to India in February of 2009, listened to the second half and okayed it.

Lot of my well-wishers and distributors questioned my judgment when I hired Dasarath to direct this film. I introduced several directors to film industry like Sukumar, Boyapati Seenu, Bommarillu Bhaskar, Vamsi Paidipally, Vasu Varma and Srikanth Addala. I liked the approach of Dasarath and wanted him to direct the movie. He has done complete justice to the script.

However, I had taken the best of technicians who worked for me in the past. Devi Sri Prasad composes music for my banner after a gap of 4 years (after Bommarillu). Abburi Ravi pens dialogues after Bommarillu in our banner. Vijay Chakravarthy who worked for my films like Bommarillu and Parugu has done cinematography. Peter Heins is composing fights.

Nobody had expectations on Mr. Perfect till the music was launched. The visuals and trailers have fetched lot of good will and craze in the market. The music composed by Devi Sri Prasad became an instant hit. People and distributors started taking notice of the film and there is very good buzz in the market for Mr. Perfect now.

How did you convince Prabhas who is an action hero with a youth/family drama like Mr. Perfect?
I had always made sure that I go against trend for big heroes in my banner. Ravi Teja has got his first family oriented film ‘Bhadra’ in our banner. NTR who is a huge mass star has done Brindavanam in our banner. Brindavanam proved that NTR can do family entertainers without hardcore mass elements. Gaganam is another example of having a film without song/heroine for romantic hero like Nagarjuna. Likewise, Prabhas will get a family oriented image after Mr. Perfect release.

Tell us about the music?
All songs in this movie are story-based. ‘Rao gari Abbai’ talks about the hero’s characterization. Cheliya is about heroine’s characterization. Dole Dole song is wedding song that speaks about our traditions. Akasam is an intense romantic song. ‘Lite Teesko’ is a fun-oriented song that happens in function and it has philosophy in it.

Tell us about the entertainment aspect of the movie?
There is lot of entertainment in the characterization of hero. Brahmanandam is there. There are many scenes in second half that provide entertainment. The conflict scenes between Prabhas and Prakash Raj are entertaining.

Is Mr. perfect a love story or a family story?
Mr. Perfect is a love story with a family orientation. There is some brilliant chemistry between Prabhas, Kajal and Tapsee. You will see on-screen romance in the most convincing way.

There is a talk that this movie is the reverse concept of Bommarillu?
Bommarillu majorly concentrates about the strange conflict between the ideal father and an ideal son. Mr. Perfect explores the conflict of career orientation and relationship (life partner) among the present day’s youth.

What is your gut feel about Mr. Perfect?
Mr. Perfect is going to be a very good family and youth entertainer for the summer of 2011. It will be liked by everybody. The girls will identify more with the concept of this film. This film is going to be a visual feast as 90% of it was shot in outdoor locations like Australia, Malaysia, Pollachi, Kerala, Ahobilam etc.

How is the business of the movie?
I sincerely feel that one shouldn’t produce a movie unless he is prepared to release it on his own. The days of table profit have gone. Buyers have become skeptical about big budget films. I am releasing the film on my own in most of the territories like Nizam, Uttarandhra, East Godari, Ceded and USA. All other territories are taken by my regular distributors.

Tell us about your future films?
I am currently doing ‘O My Friend’ with Siddharth, Shruti Hassan, Navadeep and Hansika Motwani in the main leads in the direction of Venu Sreeram. The first schedule of the film is complete and we plan to release it on 25 August. It will get delayed due to the current strike in Telugu film industry. I plan to release all my films within 6 months after takeoff unless they involve heavy action episodes.

Srikanth Addala (KBL fame) has prepared a script for a two-heroes film and it will takeoff soon. Vamsi Paidipally has prepared a story for a star.

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Vara Mullapudi (Director)
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